Precision landing after perfect preparation
Since it was founded in 1907, the family-run pharmaceutical company headquartered in Pullach near Munich, has become Europe's largest producer of effervescent medicinal products. The company has two production facilities and a total workforce of 800, 250 of whom are employed in the facility at nearby Wolfratshausen. The globally unique TOPO granulation process combines a variety of active pharmaceutical ingredients and foodstuffs to make solid and soluble dosage forms such as effervescent tablets, chewable tablets, lozenges, and instant beverages. As well as producing its own brands, which are sold by pharmacies, HERMES also develops and produces products for contract partners – a total of more than 500 products for 35 countries.
Despite the consistent servicing and maintenance of the six-aisle system (built in 1998), minor failures are starting to accumulate after almost 20 years of faultless operation. The provision of replacement parts for the control system in particular is becoming a risk. After several changes of owner, the original system supplier can no longer be reached. None of the small businesses that had reliably provided customer service are able to tackle a project of the intended size as a full-service provider. As HERMES had already enjoyed a positive experience with LTW when implementing a system in Wolfsberg (AT), the decision was not a difficult one.
HERMES schedules the conversion for the two-week company holiday around Christmas and New Year. In this short time frame, there are control cabinets to upgrade, as well as new cabinets to install. Some of the drives have to be replaced, cabling and conductor rails relaid, and control panels fitted. The extent of the work involved is revealed during the first on-site visit by the LTW retrofit team. LTW agrees the detailed specifications with HERMES management on the basis of an as-is analysis lasting several days, and an entirely new electrical plan for the system.
As completing the project on schedule was the main priority for both parties, LTW develops proposals to set up the new structures in advance of the actual conversion phase, and in parallel with ongoing operation. Starting in the fall, the LTW core team are drafted in at weekends for the preliminary assembly work and other specific preparatory measures. The detailed preparations are worth the effort – on December 17, LTW arrives with the most experienced specialists. The field of activity extends as far as the clean room zone in production. Commissioning of the high-bay warehouse follows – precisely as scheduled!